NCAA: No Extra Benefits, Until We Give You Them

Auburn recently put the finishing touches on a new lounge for football players that appears to be more nightclub than football meeting and film room. Though the school is far from alone in such an endeavor, with the impressive space one more example of the sports facility arms race taking place on major college campuses these days.

Auburn Players Lounge An Extra Benefit

It goes without saying that a typical AU student won’t be able to access such plush environs on The Plains unless he or she is part of, player or staff, the football program. But when you consider what the beneficiaries provide the school - financially and otherwise - I have no problem with what amounts to an extra benefit for an NCAA student-athlete.

The irony of such an arrangement though is unavoidable when considering the bedrock of the NCAA student-athlete eligibility rule.

Last year, in meting out the harshest punishment leveled upon a college football program since the SMU Death Penalty, the NCAA noted repeatedly (pdf) in its USC infractions report that the school’s football and basketball programs had allowed for the receipt of extra benefits by USC student-athletes that were unavailable to the institution’s typical students. Read more…